The Beards moved from San Francisco via Cincinnati to Marietta 26 years ago for Wally’s work. They traveled some when their children were young. After Wally retired, the east Cobb residents hit the road for adventure. They have visited all seven continents and all 50 states and continue their exploration of different cultures.
“We just love to travel,” Christine said. “We enjoy traveling and meeting other people and learning about other ways of living. It’s interesting.”
The Beards took their first trip after retirement on their 50th wedding anniversary when they traveled around the world in three months on a freighter cruise. Christine recalled thinking, “I hope we are doing the right thing because three months is a long time.”
Freighter cruises proved a unique way for the Beards to travel. “On the freighter cruises, passengers are on their own when they port,” she said. “It’s different. You’re your own entertainment. That’s a real adventure when you’re in other countries and don’t speak the languages. It is an adventure.”
She said sometimes they were the only passengers on the ship along with the crew and captain. “Twelve days at sea was awesome. (It) made you realize how much water is out there and nothing in sight,” she said.
During the anniversary trip, a time before iPhones and iPads, the Beards read 40 books. The captain remarried them on the ship at an all-day celebration. “It was wonderful,” she recalled.
The Beards, who are both 81 years old and exercise five days a week at McClesky-East Cobb Family YMCA, follow one rule — they never travel in July because Christine runs the Peachtree Road Race. Last year she won in the 80 and over category.
These high school sweethearts, married 58 years, have journeyed to exciting and exotic places such as a 12-day train trip to Siberia, the Gobi Desert by camel, the Mediterranean, French Polynesia, Antarctica and Africa. Last year they took all 19 family members on a traditional Caribbean cruise.
“We are very flexible,” said the mother of four grown children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
There is no slowing down in sight for the Beards. In October, they will cruise to Norway — visiting 34 ports.
“In our kitchen we have a huge map with the pin points showing where we have been,” Christine said. “Each place is so unique. I can’t say one is the best.”